Currently, there exist a variety of glycogen extraction methods, which either damage glycogen spatial structure or only partially extract glycogen, leading to the biased characterization of glycogen fine molecular structure. To understand the dynamic changes of glycogen structures and the versatile functions of glycogen particles in bacteria, it is essential to isolate glycogen with minimal degradation. In this study, a mild glycogen isolation method is demonstrated by using cold-water (CW) precipitation via sugar density gradient ultra-centrifugation (SDGU-CW). The traditional trichloroacetic acid (TCA) method and potassium hydroxide (KOH) method were also performed for comparison. A commonly used lab strain, Escherichia coli BL21(DE3), was used as a model organism in this study for demonstration purposes. After extracting glycogen particles using different methods, their structures were analyzed and compared through size exclusion chromatography (SEC) for particle size distribution and fluorophore-assisted capillary electrophoresis (FACE) for linear chain length distributions. The analysis confirmed that glycogen extracted via SDGU-CW had minimal degradation.
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